Evie Serventi: Build Your Mental Flexibility - R4R 237
The changing relationship runners may have with the sport throughout our lives.
For Evie, she just moved back to Australia after years of living in the UK. She was also a sports psychologist and enjoyed a lot of sports before having twins last year. Now she’s slowly introducing sports into her life again and building her career back up.
Evie predominantly loves swimming and triathlon and has competed at an amateur level and age group competitions. It was when she was pregnant with twins that her life changed and she turned to walking as a way to keep active. As a psychologist, she learned how to prepare for changing times.
“I've learned lots of skills in terms of how to be adaptable and flexible, and we're going to talk about mental flexibility,” Evie said. “When the twins were born again, I really didn't do much. And I remember, you know, is sitting on the couch, thinking I can't remember the last time I have sat for so long.”
She talks about the importance of checking in with yourself because going from a competitive athlete to having no support at all after having children and during COVID, it’s difficult to find time for yourself. Our relationship with running and sports is constantly evolving so we must be flexible and adapt with it. Creating a Plan B.
After realizing her original plans of early swims weren’t working, Evie came up with a strategy called Plan B to ensure she gives herself grace and flexibility while still making space for activities she enjoys.
“On Monday morning, check with my husband to see what meetings he's got that day. Can I slip out during the day for a lunch Swim? Can I go in the evening, or should I just bump it to the next day, or can I do some yoga at home?”
Mental toughness is the ability to perform at a consistently high level regardless of what you’re faced with. When it comes to scheduling time for runs or other sports, those sorts of challenges and adversities are part of that mental toughness athletes should build up.
But the flexibility aspect is just as important. It’s about practicing compassions with yourself and allowing yourself to be flexible and not beat yourself up over skipping workouts. That’s where Evie’s Plan B comes in handy. But you should always treat yourself with self-compassion because there's a difference between pushing through discomfort and a place of pain where you should stop.
How do you recognize the difference? Evie suggests creating a pain log for developing an understanding of your own pain threshold. Write down details about the injury like what intensity it was when it occurred and how long it occurred for. Develop flexibility
Develop that flexibility by doing things you don't normally do, or don’t do things you normally do. It doesn't even have to be sport-related.
Think about it's reconnecting with what's important to you in life. There's always a purpose. Ask yourself why you run? What is it that you love about running? What is it that you love about your training?
“Realize that we haven't just got obstacles in the way, we’ve got opportunities here to be creative and to focus on small goals,” Evie says. “Think of what you can focus on. What you can do and what you can't do.” Evie is taking new clients again
Evie is back ready to help people with the goals, challenges, and adversities they face. Although she’s in Australia, she can work with people anywhere. She’s registered in the UK and is waiting for her registration in Australia.
“I've always had a really strong interest in injury and helping people manage transitions with the sports, including injuries.”
Evie’s past episodes on episode 108 and episode 114
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Thank you to Evie, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.